Padding the Truth
Not all incontinence-management options offer the same level of comfort, safety or financial savings.
Let’s be honest — incontinence is a really big deal. It’s embarrassing and hard to talk about. Being continent is something most people take for granted — until they can’t control it anymore.
There are an estimated 25 million incontinent people in the U.S., including the majority of the spinal-cord-injury (SCI) population. Lack of bladder control is common with SCI because most spinal injuries disrupt communication between the bladder and the brain.
Depending on the type of incontinence, the management options are different. And you wouldn’t believe the amount of hogwash spinning around out there about incontinence management.
So, in the interest of dispelling a few myths, this is a look at the options and their potential benefits and complications. Products fall into three broad categories: absorbents, indwelling catheters and external collection products.
Absorbents: Absorbent products are made of hydrophilic materials that absorb urine, and a hydrophobic external layer to hold the moisture inside and prevent leaks. The main positives for these pads/diapers are that they’re relatively inexpensive, readily available and easy to use.
Indwelling Catheters: Whether you’re wearing them for a day or a year, indwelling catheters dramatically increase your risk of infection. The risk of developing a catheter-associated UTI increases by 5% for every day the catheter is in place; long-term use has a 100% infection rate.
Long-term indwelling catheterization is also associated with a heightened risk of bladder cancer. An estimated 10% of individuals who use indwelling catheters for ten years or more will develop bladder cancer.
Many medical professionals today believe permanent indwelling catheters should be avoided whenever possible. However, particularly among the SCI population, intermittent catheterization is still a major part of bladder care.
External Products: External devices are designed exclusively for men and attach to the male anatomy and then hook into a drainage bag. The most common is a condom catheter. This is exactly what it sounds like — a condom with a tube to a leg or bedside bag. On the upside, these are inexpensive and covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.
The downside is that they seal to the shaft of the penis using an aggressive acrylic adhesive similar to duct tape and have to be removed each time you need to intermittent catheterize.
Choosing the Right Product
When it comes to managing incontinence, be sure to check out the 4 C’s: Cause, Cost, Complications and Caregiving. Make sure whatever you choose is within your budget, low on complications and increases your independence.
Once you’ve mastered the mechanics, set goals on how you can remain active. The typical response when dealing with urine control is to cut back on social activities. This is understandable until you learn to manage it. But that’s the key — manage it; then get out and live life to the fullest.
For more information, talk with your doctor or visit blog.mensliberty.com/references.
Padding the Truth
(Register or login to add comments.)